Nonprofit organization Live Music Society is continuing its efforts to support small venues and listening rooms across the country. Today, the organization announced more than $200,000 in additional grants distributed to 31 independent venues, which brings its annual granted funds to over $800,000 so far.
The so-called Toolbox grants are designed for uses including regulatory compliance, enhanced accessibility and upgrading crucial systems such as ticketing and sales. This month’s recipients include xBk in Des Moines, Iowa, which will be installing a portable wheelchair ramp and ADA-compliant stage to better serve artists with disabilities; and The Hideout in Chicago, which will be hiring a social media consultant to improve its understanding of audience metrics and social media management systems and marketing practices. Another recipient, Moe’s Alley in Santa Cruz, Calif., will be installing a large flatscreen behind the stage to serve bands with visual elements in a space that cannot accommodate projection.
“These grants go beyond just supporting performance spaces; they foster a vibrant community where venues exchange knowledge, evolve together, and weave a richer cultural tapestry for our nation,” said Live Music Society founder Pete Muller in a release. “This expansion isn’t just about financial assistance; it’s about helping to create an ecosystem where artists and audiences flourish hand in hand.”
Additional venues assisted by this month’s grants include Alex’s Bar, Roots Music Project, Jalopy Theatre, One Longfellow Square, 20 Front Street, Beat Kitchen, Belltown Yacht Club, Cafe Colonial, Casbah, Drkmttr, Floyd Country Store, Hoosier Dome, La Peña Cultural Center, Moe’s Alley, Natalie’s Grandview, Next Stage Arts, New Deal Café, No Class, Opolis, PAUSA art house, Portland House of Music, Rambling House Music Bar, Real Art Tacoma, ShapeShifter Lab, The Egremont Barn, The Goodfoot, The Hideout, The Lost Church, The Parlor Room and The Venue.
“Small venues are the heartbeat of musical growth — they’re where artists learn, make mistakes, and connect with communities,” added Live Music Society board member and singer/activist Nona Hendryx. “Our commitment lies in supporting these venues and understanding that they’re vital launchpads for artists, where songs transform from garage or bedroom creations to stage sensations. Without them, stepping stones in the artist’s journey are missing.”
Live Music Society has continued to expand its programming since its inception in 2020 in response to mass gathering bans that impacted music venues during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier in 2023, it provided $100,000 in Toolbox grants and an additional $500,000 for its Music in Action initiative, which helps venues develop and implement creative ideas to engage their communities, expand audiences and generate new revenue sources.